The Duchess of Bolton looks vaguely familiar, does she not?
If she does, it’s because she has a look of her father, the handsome Duke of Monmouth. This beautiful young lady married the 2nd Duke of Bolton in 1697.
In the course of researching the lives of those connected to the doomed Duke, I found this charming image of his daughter, Henrietta, in the National Portrait Gallery. Now, what I find truly striking is that this daughter, his last with Eleanor Needham, is that all available information is unclear as to the year of her birth. Since 1680, Monmouth’s attentions had been on Lady Henrietta Wentworth, and I do not believe that the naming of his daughter “Henrietta” was coincidental.
My theory is that Eleanor knew that his affection for her had waned, and that he was seeing Lady Wentworth frequently, and either she named the girl because of this, or Monmouth himself was so infatuated with Wentworth that he even named his daughter after her. Since the date of this Henrietta’s birth is circa 1682, I feel certain that it must have been more 1681, for this makes more sense. In 1685, John Evelyn stated in his Diary that Monmouth had lived in sin with Lady Wentworth for two years – or since 1683. Now, he pursued her since 1680, and all I have to do now is figure out what happened in those two years…
I love my job.